"All in One Basket" Deborah Mitford, Duchess of Devonshire

Zacznę od tego, że znów padłam „ofiarą” bibliotekarzy z mojego systemu bibliotek KCLS. Byłam w jednej z nich w ramach obowiązków służbowych, bo normalnie nie pracuje w bibliotece tylko w biurze pomocniczym, i w krótkiej przerwie poszłam między półki a tam książki! Ładnie poukładane, a co atrakcyjniejsze pod względem okładki czy interesującego tytułu powystawiane... i tak właśnie wpadłam jak śliwka w kompot po raz kolejny. Nie, pewnie nigdy się to nie zmieni nawet jeśli książki będą tylko elektroniczne!

A teraz o książce... w końcu o tym jest ten blog.

Jak sami zauważycie okładkę zdobi fotografia dostojnie stojącej matrony w całkiem sporej sukni a do tego nazwisko Deborah Mitford poparte tytułem Duchess of Devonshire. Kobieta ma styl tak dominujący, że aż musiałam chociaż przyjrzec się tej książce. Zatytułowana jest „All in One Basket”, czyli „Misz-masz” w luźnym tłumaczeniu. Tytuł sam wskazuje, że jest to swojego rodzaju antologia jej twórczości, a ma sporą.

W książce znalazłam pamiętnik z przemyśleniami na tematy różne pt. „Counting my chickens” oraz wybór esejów pt. „Home to roost” osoby, która przeżyła ponad 80 lat, a która ciągle obserwuje I zapisuje ciekawe zmiany wokół niej.

Jak stali bywalcy wiedzą język (British English) jest tym co mnie w książkach urzeka, przyciąga i dlatego tak bardzo podobała mi się powieśc Juliana Fellowesa „Past Imperfect”. Drugim łącznikiem jest umiejętnośc obserwacji niuansów i śmiesznostek dnia codziennego, a trzecim – typowy angielski dystans do samej siebie.

Dla tych, którzy lubią taką właśnie literaturę gorąco polecam tą książkę i w ogóle wiezytę w bibliotece a poniżej załączam kilka fragmentów, które szczególnie mnie zauroczyły.

O swoim wieku:

“I have reached the stage in life when I wake up earlier and earlier in the morning. The wait till breakfast time has forced me to put a kettle and toaster in my room, so I can help myself to their merciful productions whenever I like. I advise all early wakers who have fallen for this plan to buy a clock with a minute second hand of immediately recognizable lengths, or out may have disappointing experience of last week. Waking at 6 a.m., I made and ate my breakfast, only to discover that the clock’ similar looking hands had played a trick on me, and it was in fact only 12:30 a.m. Too early even for me, but too late to pretend I hadn’t had breakfast.”

O zmianach w społeczeństwie:

'Coming out' had a different meaning in 1938 from what it has today. The last London season before the Second World War followed much the same pattern as it had done before the First”.

“Our nearest big town is Chesterfield, and a very good place it is. A few years ago the sign announcing that you had arrived there read ‘Chesterfield – Centre of Industrial England’. It has been changed to ‘Chesterfield – Historic Market Town’. Why? I suppose industry is out of fashion.”

“The other day I went to Harrods to look for a coat for a friend who can’t go shopping. After all these years I still miss the bank on the ground floor (…) But it was what happened outside that struck me as so odd. (…) A smart car with a chauffeur drew up and an old, cross, rich couple got out. The woman had a mink coat slung over her shoulders, which fell into the road and the dirty water. The commissionaire dashed to pick it up, shook it and hung it on her again. He opened the door for her and her beastly husband, who didn’t lift a finger to help. She walked straight thought without looking around. ‘Didn’t that woman say thanks you?’ I asked the commissionaire. “Oh no,’ he answered, ‘they never do.’”

O “nowych” produktach

“Packaging has gone too far and the simples thins have become impossible to open. If you buy a toothbrush or a pen or tweezers you need a strong and sharp pair of scissors to cut through the armor plating of plastic which encases them No house has enough scissors so you go out and buy some. But they are similarly encapsulated in a thick shiny film, which human hands and nails are not designated to penetrate.”

“Buying water in bottles to drink at home must be one of the oddest crazes of the last few years. All right, I know London water tastes horrible and Nanny would say don’t touch it, darling you don’t know where it’s been (…) The choice seems endless. Bottles of all shapes and sizes and even colours (…) fill the shelves of grocers’ shops (…) Think of number of lorries carrying this extraordinary cargo all over the country (…) But the astonishing thing is the price. Please note that milk costs 43p a litre, petrol is a little over 50p a litre, and still water, would you believe it, costs up to 79p for the same quantity. As a shopkeeper, I must think up some other pointless commodities with which to fuddle the good old public.”

O żywności i gotowaniu

“There is something mysterious about bread. I don’t mean pale, floppy leaves steamed to death by “bakers”, but the home-made sort, mixed, kneaded and cooked by human hand in a real oven.
Bread is uncertain, in that the same recipe followed by different people produces very different versions of the ‘staff of life’. Perhaps it is something to do with the yeast, alive and almost kicking. Perhaps this magic agent reacts to the mood of the breadmaker or the oven. Wherever the reason the variations are very much part of the charm.
Children who have never tried home-made bread are apt to fall upon it and devour slice after slice, ending with a deeply satisfied and ‘I can’t eat another thing. I’m full.’
Fancy recipes with different tastes, from herbs and bananas to tomatoes and olives, are easy to surprise people with, but are no good for everyday. Or the best treat, you should wait till August to beg some wheat straight off the combine, put it through the coffee grinder and see if the resulting breads is not a revelation.”

“(…)’Cookery is an art but not so much a fine art or an applied art as a performing art, like dancing, acting or singing. It is of the moment and then gone, and has to be spot on.’(…)

“I was struck by this, even awe-struck, in Jean-Pierre’s case when the staff and their families were invited to see the big table in the Great Dining Room with all its silver and special decorations ready for the great dinner (…) There amid all the wide-eyed admirers strolling round the table were Jean-Pierre and his family – only a minute or two before he had to go down to the kitchen to cook this mighty meal in prospect! (…) But I realized then with a shock how much Jean-Pierre’s work (or art) was like going on state for a great performance and giving his audience an evening of pleasure, a transport of delight – something right on the night, every night.”

“My mother was before her time in many of her theories. We always had bread made at home out of wholemeal flour. But longed for, and continually asked for, Shop Bread, though we hardly ever got it.
She and my uncle regularly wrote to the papers on what they called Murdered Food – refined white sugar, white flour from which the wheat germ had been removed, and so much else which is fashionable now, seventy years on. They were considered to be eccentric then.
An instance of her contempt for the scientific was when tuberculin testing for cows and butter, milk and cream they produced were wonderfully good. Three cows reacted to the test. My mother was told. ‘Which are they?’ she asked. As always in such cases they were the three best-looking in the herd. ‘What, get rid of those lovely animals? Certainly not! The children can have their milk.’
And have it we did, with no ill effects of any kind, which served to underline her distrust of scientists and doctors.”